As the coronavirus crisis continues to increase the strain on communities across the UK, Neighbourly and its partners M&S, Lidl, Aldi, Nutricia (Danone), giffgaff and Southern Co-op are extending their Community Fund so that more hyper-local causes can extend their services to help vulnerable people in need.
More than 1,200 community causes within Neighbourly’s network – including foodbanks, homeless shelters, elderly care, community support groups, youth groups and health charities – have already been awarded emergency micro-grants of up to £400 from the Community Fund since its launch four weeks ago.
Phase 2 of the Fund will widen eligibility for the grants so that local charities and community groups who are supporting those who are suffering economically, socially or from ill health can continue their work. As before, the micro-grants will be provided quickly to avoid any service disruption.
M&S, Lidl, Aldi, Nutricia (Danone), giffgaff and Southern Co-op have contributed a combined total of £450,000 to Phase 2 of the Fund, in addition to almost £500,000 which was made available in Phase 1 with donations from M&S, Lidl, Aldi, Danone and Coca-Cola European Partners. M&S have also added the Neighbourly Community Fund as one of their ‘Sparks’ charities so that customers can support the fund when purchasing from the store.
Steve Butterworth, CEO of Neighbourly, said: “We have already seen the immediate difference that these micro-grants have made, with the community causes receiving the money within days. As lockdown continues, we want to ensure that as many eligible causes as possible benefit from the Fund, so that the most at-risk people receive urgent help. This is real time grant making in action, and we are calling for more national businesses to join us and help organisations working at a hyper-local level by contributing to the Fund. Together we can get support to those people in most urgent need.”
More than 2,500 charities and community causes have already applied to Neighbourly’s Community Fund, highlighting the urgent need for emergency support at a grassroots level.
Caroline Henderson, founder of Food and Friendship in Brighton & Hove, said: “We’ve been significantly impacted by Covid-19 and the donation has enabled us to buy equipment needed to convert our lunch club to a delivery service providing hot meals to very isolated and vulnerable people.”
The extension of the Fund comes as a new survey of more than 900 of the community causes in Neighbourly’s networks shows the impact of the coronavirus crisis on their services. More than 80% have adapted their services to continue to provide a service to vulnerable individuals, while 75% are struggling with funding, and 65% say they would use additional funding for emergency food provision. With the additional pressures created by coronavirus, Neighbourly’s community partners estimate that they are now supporting an average of around 260 people each week.
Chris Williams, Head of Community & Events at Richard House Children’s Hospice from London, said:
“If we don’t receive financial support in the coming weeks, we could face having to stop providing end of life and emerge respite care. Without our hospice, the families we support will simply have nowhere to turn.”
Gustavo Hildenbrand, managing director, Nutricia, part of Danone Specialised Nutrition said: “Looking after the elderly and those at risk in our community is at the heart of what we do as a business, and this has never been more important. That’s why Nutricia is proud to make this further contribution to the Neighbourly Community Fund, helping local groups who are doing an amazing job of serving the most vulnerable in our communities during these difficult times.”
giffgaff is contributing to the Community Fund as a new partner for Phase 2 along with Southern Co-op who are contributing to the Fund in support of local causes including the charity partners nominated by their store teams. Southern Co-op will make a donation for each member vote that is cast as part of their board of directors vote this year. The National Emergencies Trust is also a supporting partner of the Community Fund.
For more information about the Neighbourly Community Fund, and to find out how you can contribute or apply, visit: https://www.neighbourly.com/NeighbourlyCommunityFund